Search for answers after 2 homicides in 1 night in Winston-Salem

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Police say two people were killed within a mile and two hours of each other in Winston-Salem Wednesday night. Thursday, investigators released that one victim is a 17-year-old and the other is a 32-year-old.

The first homicide happened at 7:55 p.m. at the Cambridge Apartments on West 23rd Street, where the 17-year-old was shot. Police identified him as Tyrese Tamil Davis. They say after they arrived at the scene, they learned that Davis was at the hospital, where he later died.

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools officials confirmed Davis was a student at Mount Tabor High School.

Davis’ killing is the second homicide to occur at the Cambridge Apartments since August.

At 9:55 p.m., police say they got a call that a man had been shot in the 3300 block of Gilmer Avenue. There, they found 32-year-old James Lamont Stephens in the roadway. He died on scene.

Gilmer Avenue is directly behind St. Philips Moravian Church. Dorothy Pettus, a longtime member of the church, says she was approached by Stephens on Sunday.

“He stopped me when I was coming bringing items in the church last Sunday right out here, and he said, ‘Miss, will you pray for me,’” Pettus recalled. “I said, ‘I certainly will, why don’t you come on in the church?’”

Two 15-year-old boys were shot also on Gilmer Avenue on Sept. 6.

Pettus says her daughter was behind the church when the shots rang out.

“She was putting trash in the dumpster and had to run because they started shooting back there,” she said.

In May, a 2-year-old was shot on Bon Air Avenue, which is the next street over from Gilmer Avenue.

Even the church itself has fallen victim to recent crimes.

“I’m here all the time, but I’ve cut back when it gets dark,” Pettus said.

Pettus adds that most of the older people who went to the church in the neighborhood have died.

“Now it’s a transient neighborhood and it’s changed a lot,” Pettus said.

Winston-Salem police do not believe Wednesday’s shootings are connected. They have not made any arrests in either case. They say in the case of Davis’ homicide, they are aware of people who witnessed the crime who have yet to come forward or provide investigators with information.

These are the 21st and 22nd homicides to occur in the city of Winston-Salem in 2018.​